One of the heartwarming things in what has been a destructive and heartbreaking war between Russia and Ukraine is the treatment of refugees from Ukraine, at least from what I’ve seen on news television. It has been wonderful to see the kind treatment of Ukrainian refugees entering into Poland, for example.
But at the same time, upon seeing the footage of how Ukrainian refugees have been treated, my mind couldn’t help but turn towards how so many parts of the world have struggled with how we’ve treated refugees from other places. And that’s not to say that Ukrainian refugees shouldn’t be treated with the utmost care and respect, but that instead we should treat all refugees from war-torn areas, politically unstable areas, and places ravaged by the impacts of climate change (to name a few) with the same sort of basic human decency that has been given to so many refugees from Ukraine.
And yes, that includes refugees from war-torn Syria. That also includes refugees from Honduras, which has suffered from major weather disasters and drug violence. That includes those fleeing from the Taliban in Afghanistan, political violence in Myanmar, and many other issues in many other parts of the world.
And yet, we (we applying not just to the United States, but to many other countries as well) often don’t treat refugees with the same sort of human decency that some Ukrainian refugees are receiving. We turn them away at the borders. We tell them to go back to their home countries, in the process returning to the violence or other unrest they had hoped to escape from. We tell them that there is no room for them in “our” country. We tell them that they would damage the country’s economy. We all too often show deep selfishness.
And that’s not to say that there are challenges that come with having a massive influx of refugees in a short period of time. Such an influx means that there is a sudden need for a wide variety of services (and a wide quantity of services) in places that may not have them, or at least not have them to the extent needed in order to take care of everyone present. Everything from doctors to bathrooms are needed in great supply in places having a large influx of refugees, for example. The challenge that comes with this is great. Yet, at the same time, giving our fellow human beings some relief and refuge during a time of great chaos and upheaval and loss should by itself make those challenges worth it.
So yes, may we welcome refugees from Ukraine, and may we stand with Ukraine and refugees coming from that country. But may we also welcome refugees from Honduras, Syria, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and many other parts of the world.